RALEIGH – NC Department of Transportation crews, contractors, and volunteers collected more than 10 million pounds of trash from roadsides this year, nearly breaking the state’s record for trash collections in 2019.
The department’s announcement follows the two-week Litter Sweep case that collected more than 418,000 pounds of street litter nationwide. The annual event aimed at clearing roadsides of rubbish took place from September 11th to 25th.
Regionally, more than 1.2 million pounds of trash was collected in Highway Division 6, which includes Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Harnett, and Robeson counties this year.
According to Andrew Barksdale, an NCDOT spokesman, 582,150 pounds of trash had been collected from the streets of Robeson County as of Thursday. In 2020, NCDOT crews and volunteers removed 327,585 pounds of trash.
NCDOT officials estimate £ 10.5 million has been raised for the year by next month, breaking the 2019 record.
“I’m so proud of my team, our hard-working contract teams, and all of the dedicated volunteers,” said Drew Cox, Division 6 engineer. “This is a huge commitment in our state to keep our roadsides looking clean and beautiful.”
Much of the department’s success is thanks in part to the volunteers who make up the 235 Adopt-A-Highway groups who clear trash from streets in their respective counties.
Barksdale attributes the high collection rates to “passionate” groups of volunteers and the attention political and community leaders pay to garbage. Robeson County Sheriff Burnis Wilkins is among the executives working to clear roadsides of trash.
In addition, Interstate 95 and US 74 are factors that contribute to roadside litter, areas that are frequently used by motorists. Also, compared to Fayetteville, Cumberland County, there are no large urban areas to collect trash.
According to Barksdale, NCDOT continues to seek more volunteers to join the effort.
Anyone interested in participating can visit ncdot.gov/DontTrashNC for information on how to participate.
If you spot someone littering a vehicle, report them using NCDOT’s Swat-A-Litterbug app by downloading the app at ncdot.gov/litter.
“Garbage is unsightly, costs millions of dollars to clean, and can harm the environment, tourism and the quality of life in the state,” said NCDOT.
NCDOT shared the following tips for motorists to avoid roadside litter:
– Always secure your load.
– Before driving, clean the loading area of all rubbish and debris.
– Never throw rubbish out of a vehicle.